Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Yesterday, after a solid day of BIC [Butt-in-chair for the non-writers out there], my brain was fatigued. The little decisions of revision -- To be or not to be? To keep or not to keep? Is this a separate scene or part of the same scene? Does it matter? -- immobilized me for any other decisions, like what to make for dinner. While most normal people would just order pizza or go for Chinese, the choices for pizza delivery and Chinese take-out in these parts are scant. I can't over-use them or I lose my sole ace. Sole ace. Solace. It's pretty lame when your sole ace/solace is take-out. No wonder writers tend to live in big cities. There are more options for take-out.

Anyway, I turned to Facebook. Let's crowd-source dinner decisions. And Facebook came through. With one single note that I had cauliflower, I got recipes and links to aloo gobi, stir-fried rice/cauliflower, cauliflower alfredo, roasted cauliflower with tahini and yogurt, cauliflower and bacon baked with gruyere cheese and green onions, curried cauliflower, Buffalo cauliflower bites, gobi manchurian, cauliflower in an omelette, and sweet and sour cauliflower. Also, my very first suggestion (thank you, Chris) was for bacon. Lots and lots of bacon. And just for kicks, there was also a link to baked potato soup.

All of which sound amazing to me. Sadly, I didn't see most of the posts until *after* I had already begun dinner, but because cauliflower is on sale at the grocery store this week again, the suggestions may still see my table.

Since I had bacon in my freezer, and since one of my gingerbread boys won't touch cauliflower but will inhale bacon, I decided upon bacon on the one hand and cauliflower on the other. Normally, I make roasted curried cauliflower, but I had a recipe for sauteed cauliflower with garlic and lemon. With one lemon in my hot little hand and one package of frozen bacon, I figured this was good enough. Some nights we feast. Some nights we have food. This was a night for food.

And that's ok.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fear is a Hunter

I just finished reading an ARC of Ruta Sepetys's new novel Salt to the Sea. It is the story of WWII refugees aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff. The story is told in four voices, with the first four chapters introducing each of the four characters.

Sepetys begins these four chapters with "_____ is a hunter." Each character is given an emotion: Guilt is a hunter. Fate is a hunter. Shame is a hunter. And finally, the last character: Fear is a hunter.  I'm not doing justice to this wonderful and heartbreaking story, but I'm stuck right now on Fear is a hunter.

The emotion of fear is assigned to the despised character. I don't want to be like the despised character.

And yet, I'm fearful.

The fear of my inadequacies drives me to all kinds of activities other than what I should be doing (writing), what I want to be doing (writing).

So I turn around and face the hunter. I'm not perfect, I say. I'm not invincible, I say. You can't hurt me, I say. I have things to do, I say.

I refuse to be hunted today.

Friday, January 22, 2016

On Being a Luddite

Until yesterday at 12:57 pm, my cell phone was a Nokia pay-as-you-go. It didn't take pictures. It barely sent texts. It occasionally picked up a signal if I placed it upright against the right-hand window of the family room. Well, at least it did in winter when all the leaves were down. Not so much at other times of the year.

But it was a phone--good for emergencies and cheap. Simple.

Yesterday, I joined the ranks of iPhone zombies. It's a business expense.

I am overwhelmed by bells and whistles. It reads my thumbprint. It tracks my footsteps. It talks to me in a British accent. It tells me that the Starbucks stock is up two points. I don't even drink Starbucks.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Travel Tuesday: Florence

Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Travel Tuesday: Istanbul

I tell my students, it's not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What's more difficult is to identify with someone you don't see, who's very far away, who's a different color, who eats a different kind of food. When you begin to do that then literature is really performing its wonders.
Chinua Achebe

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Travel Tuesday: Venice

Never look backwards or you'll fall down the stairs.
Rudyard Kipling